Inmate charged with riot in Whitfield County jail

An inmate in the Whitfield County jail has been charged with riot in a penal institution after attacking a corrections officer and struggling with officers and other inmates who came to the officer's aid, according to an incident/investigation report.

Ryan Austin Wofford, 38, is scheduled for a bond hearing today.

According to jail reports Wofford, of Cookeville, Tennessee, was booked into the jail on May 14 by the Dalton Police Department for felony shoplifting, possession of meth, crossing a guard line with drugs without consent and fugitive from justice (South Carolina).

According to a Whitfield County Sheriff's Office incident/investigation report, on Tuesday, July 13, around 8:16 p.m. a deputy ordered "Wofford to return to his cell and lock back down within his room in R Block, cell 8." The report said Wofford "refused to lock back down and became increasingly aggressive in tone with" the deputy.

A second deputy watching from a tower entered the cell block to help return Wofford to his room. The report said that deputy "readied" his Taser. He found "Wofford at the top of the stairs in the day room" in front of his door. He told Wofford "to return to his room and lock down to which he refused and became more aggressive in tone and posture. I proceeded up the stairs, aiming my Taser at inmate Wofford and instructing him multiple times to return to his room and lock down while warning him that if he did not I would 'Taze him.'

"Once I reached the top of the stairs inmate Wofford yelled 'that Taser won't do (expletive) to me, I'll knock you down those (expletive) stairs!'"

The report continues, "At this point, I deployed bay one of my Taser on inmate Wofford which was ineffective. Inmate Wofford then advanced toward me. I then deployed bay two of my Taser which was also ineffective."

The report said Wofford struck the deputy "with his left hand to the right side of my head and followed with a strike from his right fist to the left side of my head."

The two began "grappling" and Wofford wrapped his right arm around the deputy's head and "began to squeeze." The report said the deputy struck Wofford with "four closed-fist strikes to his head area in an attempt to break free."

At that point, the first deputy opened a cell door and four inmates rushed to help the deputy who was struggling with Wofford. The report said one inmate struck Wofford with three punches to the head before being told by a deputy to "stop punching" him. Three officers then entered the cell block. One put her Taser into the middle of Wofford's back and told him to "stop resisting" and warned that if he did not she would "Taze him."

At that point, the deputies and inmates got Wofford under control and the deputy he attacked was able to handcuff him. Officers stood Wofford up, and two escorted him to a padded cell in the booking area.

The report said when Wofford reached booking, officers removed the Taser prongs from his abdomen and gave him first aid. He was placed back in the padded cell where he was to stay until the next day.

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